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[Frontiers] Can We Measure Memes?

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
It has been suggested that the sudden explosion of what is considered fundamentally human: consciousness, culture, language, and intellect is a consequence of our evolved capacity to imitate (Donald, 1993). That the driving force for this cultural explosion was the generation of a second environ-mental space in which memes drove biological selection as well as genes (Blackmore, 1999). A meme is a replicator, a cultural unit operating under Darwinian evolutionary principles analogous to a gene, but a distinct replicator in its own right (Dawkins, 1976; Goodenough and Dawkins, 1994). A meme in layman terms is a concept or idea, embodied by a word, a phrase, a riff, image, or gesture. A meme “exists” in the world of ideas and replicates by imitation. Memes are fluffy, non-delineated concepts rendering them somewhat untouchable by cognitive neuroscience albeit that they share considerable functional overlap with a seminal discovery in neuroscience. Over a decade ago mirror neurons, encoding the intention of “others,” were discovered (Gallese et al., 1996; Rizzolatti et al., 1996). It was quickly proposed that these neurons, located in regions highly involved in imitation, were the neural substrates upon which language could have evolved (Rizzolatti and Arbib, 1998). The biological observation of neurons facilitating action recognition and replication fully supported a theory of memetics (Blackmore, 2005) and the field of memetics has grown (Heylighen and Chielens, 2008). However cognitive neuroscience has given the idea a fairly wide birth, probably due to the aforementioned non-measurable, indefinable nature of memes. This paper briefly reviews the biologically based work on the evolution of language. The paper concludes cognitive neuroscience can, and should, apply considerable weight to the investigation of memetics. Firstly, the paper suggests that although memes may not be quantifiable, the traces of the neural processes involved in memetic replication and storage within the central nervous system (CNS) are measurable. Producing artificial memes for study is easily achieved and has already been done within experimental protocols in a number of fields (see Do We Measure Memes Already?). Modern neuroimaging techniques enable us to quantify changes in neural-network-functional-connectivity-profiles as we perceive, learn, memorize, imitate, or perhaps more accurately “replicate” memes.

http://www.frontiersin.org/evolutionary_neuroscience/10.3389/fnevo.2011.00001/full
post #2 of 44
I ALWAYS knew some scientist would come and try to insert memes officially into science.
   
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post #3 of 44
If more then $100 is spent researching this, I don't want to live in this solar system anymore.
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post #4 of 44
I lawled.
post #5 of 44
wha-smiley.png what a waste of brainpower. Now we are going to be overrun by over analytical meme "experts"
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post #6 of 44
I do believe 5entinel shall allow memes this one time in the news. It's on topic. wink.gif
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post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jellis142 View Post

If more then $100 is spent researching this, I don't want to live in this solar system anymore.

I can never understand quotes like this, like there's anything at all that shouldn't be researched. How can we understand ourselves as human beings if we don't study ourselves? And that includes studying all the frivolous minor things as well as the big things. To truly have a deeper understanding of ourselves we need to study everything, every small and insignificant thing we as humans are associated with to bring that about.

For what could possibly be more important then understanding ourselves?

Or understanding our own culture and how it works, and how culture in general works. Is there something wrong with that? And again if we truly want to understand this we need to examine the small and the large. The frivolous and the serious. But this is superfluous to my first point since to understand ourselves also requires we understand how our culture(s) mold and shape us, since culture is intrinsic to our being.


This is like people who complain about funding into stuff like the mating habits of frogs or something stupid like that. What could be more important then understanding the world around us? (besides ourselves anyways). And how can we come to understand the world around us if we don't understand the small and the insignificant as well as the large and showy?


Everything should be researched. No exceptions.
post #8 of 44
Thread Starter 
Siiiigh. You people don't know what a meme is, do you?
post #9 of 44
he deals with aliens so yeah lol, Ive seen him on ancient aliens alot.
 
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post #10 of 44
Thread Starter 
Siiiigh. You people don't know what a meme is, do you?


Ok braniacs. Here's the definition.

A meme is an idea, a "unit" of thought. It can be anything that exists in the realm of the mind; a catchy pop song, a religion, a scientific theory, an image, or yes, even a thought-turd from 4chan. This paper isn't about studying 4chan memes, it's about understanding the basis of our cognition. If you people can't even understand that, something that you could pick up from the first three sentences of the quoted part of the paper... Then allow me to respond on your level:
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